Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Lessons from Chaos

Written by: on April 11, 2013


I live in a world of chaos. When I leave my house in the morning, I stop at the traffic light to buy the day’s newspaper. The newspaper vendor (I still do not know his name) smiles at me and wishes me a good day. At I drive to the next intersection (commonly known as ‘round about’ in Kenya) I hope the traffic policeman will not hold up traffic from our lane. Sometimes he (always a man) does allow vehicles on our lane to proceed, sometimes he does not. I the approach the next intersection, near the Nyayo Stadium, normally it an easy ride but sometimes there will be one or two cart-pushers (always men too) with loads of farm market merchandise. They always take up one lane so that slows down traffic a lot. The are many, many pedestrians walking along the road hurriedly, and are looking for a way of crossing the road especially at the intersections and I have to slowdown and ensure that none is trying to duck in front of me because I am a lady driver and my car is a small blue Suzuki that cannot hit a man (or so they seem to think by the way they carelessly cross the road infront of my vehicles when i slow down at the intersection). More than 50% road fatalities in Kenya are pedestrians. The drive towards city stadium takes me to one of the busiest parts of town. Matatus (public transport vans) are rushing to town to drop people going to work and rush back to Eastlands to pick up more passengers. Eastlands holds most of the middle class and lower class workers who are rich enough to live in a rented house and many are just two salaries away from living in a slum. Most of them earn about Ksh. 15,000-50,000 per month and rents range between 2,500 for a one roomed house with shared bathrooms or 10,000 bedsitters (1 dollar =Ksh. 85). This is where I work. The 30 minute journey to work is always fascinating. The journey back home through the 10 km stretch brings with it more sceneries of chaos.

As I read the book ‘Leadership and New Science’ by Margaret Wheatley, I realize that I have an innate desire to create order on the road in the way the west have done it. I always wonder why the masses on the streets that I meet on my way to work seem not so bothered by the lack of order on our roads. Nevertheless, there is a lot of human interaction and body contact on the roads. People walk along in twos or in a group. There is a vibrant human interaction. I wonder if the human interaction that exists in chaos will be lost in the search of order. As science developed in the west, people became lonely (Loc. 678) the price to pay for a search of orderliness may lead to a quiet segmented life that is silent. My first encounter with the underground railway network in the west was in London. It was about 4.30 p.m. and people were leaving work. There seemed to be a swarm of people who all seemed to be in shades of blue. The people in the trains do not talk to each other. They seemed lifeless, almost dead to me.

One of the buzz words in the world of development and communication is the term ‘space’.  I heard it for the first time at a conference where we were informed that one of the main purposes of the meeting was to create space to communicate and listen to each other. I wondered if herding people together in a location and defining boundaries to building relationship and create space would allow us to listen to each other. I felt that I was being dissected so that pieces of me would be joined with others inn conversation. Relationships cannot be manufactured as in a laboratory that converts one part sodium and two parts chloride into salt (with a catalyst of course).

Even though Margaret dissects organizational cultures and leadership behavior and leans a lot on the process of science such as quantum theories, I wonder how disruptive mission’s statements, organizational analysis and the science of leadership will disrupt chaotic societies and communities with the aim of creating order. Can order really be achieved the more we understand science? Now I understand why in Job’s story in the Old Testament, God spent all the time he had in responding to Job by giving him imageries from nature. God dissected science and somewhat Job understood God. I pray that in my leadership I will find answers to life, not in psychology and philosophy or any other dissected subject, but in the created order and mostly from simple everyday conversations with the residents of Eastlands, where I spend most of my day every week.

About the Author

Joy Mindo

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